Over the years, I’ve read numerous books and reports on the ‘type’ of people who seems to become ill with CFS/ME and many people who do are of what’s called the Type ‘A’ Personality.
Are You Part Of The Type A Personality CFS Trend?
You are Type ‘A’ Personality if you are/were:
- easily wound-up
- prone to stress
- sometimes hostile and aggressive
Type ‘B’ Personalities tend to be more relaxed, able to express their feelings easily and are more able to do one thing at a time. Type C personalities are generally ‘nice’ people who work hard, but don’t let stress take over their lives. The diagram below explains the Type A and B differences perfectly.
I don’t know about you, but I am definitely a Type ‘A’ Personality. I was a straight ‘A’ student, involved in every single school activity going and never, ever got sick. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be perfect because I knew I could be(!) and because it was expected of me. Although I don’t tend to identify myself as being hostile or aggressive, in a way I believe that some of this anger was directed internally and I buried it for a long time. but I’m definitely prone to stress and used to be massively self-critical, both before and during the early stages of my illness.
At present, there doesn’t seem to be any scientific reason why there is a Type A Personality CFS trend- some people claim it’s due to the fact that Type ‘A’ people might have more of the stress hormone, cortisol, in their body. But, I have another theory as to why I think Type A people are more prone to sickness, therefore opening themselves up to illnesses such as CFS.
Before I became ill, I never, ever took any time out for myself. Even when I had bad flu or a cold, I would plough on and not take being ill into consideration. In some ways, not focusing on your illness can mean that you heal more quickly, but not taking time out to look after yourself when you’re feeling run down can leave your immune system feeling completely depleted. After ignoring ‘minor’ illnesses for so long, your body can just crash, thereby forcing you to look after yourself and take time out. I had a few warning signs before I became really ill, but I ignored all of them. The exact same warning signs popped up just before relapses, and again, instead of listening to my body, I just completely ignored them.
As humans, we need rest. We’re designed for rest, not only when we’re sleeping, but at certain times of the day and at certain times of the year. Unfortunately, because we’re constantly surrounded my technology, computers and smart phones, our bodies ignore the natural light outside and we become completely out-of-sync with the seasons. But rest is designed to restore and repair our bodies, and if we ignore it, our body gives us signals that we’re ignoring it in the form of pain, soreness and illness.
Meditation, yoga and focussing on the present have really helped me to work with my Type A personality, as well as learning to really rest properly (no TV, no jumping off the sofa to do something, no housework- nothing).
How about you? Are you a Type A personality as well?
Love and living life slowly,
I’m definitely a type A personality! All through school I was an A grade student – not naturally, but through dedicated and time-consuming hard work and effort. I knew I had to put in everything I had to achieve what I wanted, I could never wing exams. But that takes its toll. Even now I’ve got ME, I’m doing Open University modules in order to complete the degree I started at a Top UK university. Even through illness I’m determined to keep working because I am such a perfectionist. In a way it’s good, ME has taken so much away from me yet I won’t let it take my academic ability. But on the other hand, I find myself getting obsessive over getting everything right and letting my body get stressed. Sometimes I have to come back to earth and stay grounded, I need to remember that grades and stats aren’t the be all and end all, and that health and happiness is number 1. But being type A, that can take a lot of getting used to!
Marina, thank you so much for commenting! Good for you for studying as well as dealing with this lovely illness(!)! As you say, finding the balance is really tough- I still get perfectionist moments and I have to really ground myself and put things into perspective. It’s always a challenge for us Type ‘A’s though!
Thank you Marina- have a beautiful day! xx
Yes, Type A here to the extreme. I was quite sick as a child and spent a lot of time in the hospital with chronic lung infections. My family never had high aspirations for themselves or me, and I was often criticized for trying to be such a perfectionist. I think this contributed to more self bashing and thoughts of, “there is something wrong with me.” After over 5 years of dealing with this illness, I am coming to realize that my high standards are really a blessing, and this illness is helping me remember who I really am. I think the key for me is to remember to be kinder and gentler with myself, and lots of self care to keep it all in balance.
I am yet another Type A with CFS. Somehow my biggest downfall is that I want to be my very best. Even though I’m sick, there’s so much I want (and try) to do. I even feel guilty about buying pre-diced veggies for dinner because in my head it’s not the “proper” way of cooking!!
Suzy my darling, I too used to feel guilty for buying pre-diced veggies! But I realised that I was putting far too much pressure on myself and the end result is the same anyway. I thought that by going that extra mile, I could prove myself, but the results were quite short-lived.
Sending you lots of love Suzy- being aware of perfectionist tendencies is the first way through them! xx
As much as I don’t want to admit it I think I am type a. Easily stressed and wound up. If someone upsets or annoys me me I find it so hard to let it go. My friends always said I was a stress head. I’m alot better than I used to be but I think I’m still abit of a stresshead.
I’m a recovering stress-head too, but I’ve come to accept that I’ll always be a little bit type A. Just going to roll with it!
Lots of love Jess- xx
Great image! This really resonated with me. Growing up I always set goals based on how challenging and distinguishing they were, rather than focusing on utility or value. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to entirely quash type-A impulses but now I try to be more self-aware and channel the perfectionism more selectively – if something doesn’t provide substantial value to self and others it’s not worth getting wound-up about.
Oh! And something I read allowed me to use the momentum of workaholism against itself in a kind of mental jiu-jitsu: happy/calm people are more productive in the long run.
Yes! I love this Sean- thank you for the reminder. Happy and calm people are definitely more productive in the long-run- I often have to remind myself of this when I’m desperate to skip yoga! Being in a relaxed state makes me much more productive and authentic.
Best of luck (from one recovering type-A to another!)!